SBE Council eNews
Update on Activities
IN THIS EDITION: 114th Congress Off to a Productive Start; Tax Reform a Top Small Business Issue – In Ad Campaign, SBE Council Urges Congress to “PASS TAX REFORM NOW”; The Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read to Succeed; CRS Update: New Congress Pledges to Take on Excessive Regulation, A Vote on the Bipartisan “Regulatory Accountability Act”; U.S. Energy Infrastructure Needs and Keystone XL; Keating’s Corner – Economic Analysis on Jobs Data, the Fed and 2015 Economy; PERMANENT Internet Tax Freedom; Weltman – Starting the Year Off Right on Taxes; Visa Webinar on Secure Technologies for Merchants, Jan. 21; Business Tips & Trends News Highlights
114th Congress Off to Productive Start for Small Business
The new Congress convened on January 6. As expected, legislation is moving rapidly on the House side, and SBE Council was pleased several bills passed the full House in the first week. H.R. 30, the "Save American Workers Act" (see our support letter here) passed by a vote of 272-152, and H.R. 3, the "Keystone XL Pipeline Act," passed 266-153 (see our support letter here.)
Restoring the 40-hour workweek under Obamacare (as H.R. 30 would do) and providing a green light to build the Keystone XL pipeline will have a positive impact for entrepreneurs and their workforce.
50 Democrats Flip to “NO” on Small Business Capital Formation Vote: The House should have easily passed SBE Council-backed H.R. 37, the "Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act," an important small business capital formation bill, but 50 Democrats who voted for the bill in 2014 flipped their votes to NO on January 7. H.R. 37 was voted under “suspension of the rules” and failed to reach the 2/3 majority vote requirement. This rule is used for noncontroversial bills, which H.R. 37 had been until 50 House members decided to play a useless partisan game. The final vote count was 276-146. Thankfully, House leaders will put the bill up for another vote this week.
Things are cranking in the Senate: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced S.1, the "Keystone XL Pipeline Act," and a full Senate vote is expected in the very near future. (See SBE Council’s support letter here.) S.1 needs to pass the Senate with 67 votes to override a possible presidential veto (only a threatened veto, at this point.) Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) says there are currently 63 votes for the bill. Previously, President Obama said he would veto Keystone legislation because the legal process (action against the pipeline's construction) must have a chance to work its course through the courts. But on Friday, January 9, the Nebraska Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s challenge to the pipeline project.
Who’s Who in the 114th Congress: SENATE - The leadership and new committee chairs can be found here.
HOUSE -For the U.S. House, click here for the leadership chart and here for links to committees and new chairs.
Learn all about your congressional district through a new tool by the U.S. Census Bureau called “My Congressional District.”
Tax Reform a Top Issue for SBE Council – Congress Urged to Pass Tax Reform NOW in Ad Campaign
Once again, tax reform is a top policy priority for SBE Council. We are optimistic there will be movement on this critical issue in 2015. To that end, SBE Council greeted members of the 114th Congress with ads at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport, on 500 Metro Rail Cars, and through mobile ads around the U.S. Capitol with the important message: “Do Your Job” and “Reform Business Taxes NOW.”
“Americans have spoken. It’s time for Congress to work together on reforms that will fully ignite our economy. Reforming business taxes is critical to that end,” said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan in a news release. “Businesses need certainty and a friendly tax environment to enable growth, encourage investment and create quality job opportunities.Congress has a mandate to get to work in support of entrepreneurs and their workforce.We need a tax code that is competitive, fair and less complex. Congress shouldn’t waste any time getting started to enact tax reform this year.”
The ads at Washington National and on Metro greeted members of the new Congress, their families, staff and supporters. The ads will continue to run on Metro and throughout Washington, D.C. to remind Members of Congress to tackle tax reform immediately.
Five Priorities to Guide Tax Reform: In a recent blog post, SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating listed key priorities for Congress in formulating tax reform. How should tax reform move forward in 2015? Click here to learn more.
SBE Council’s Kerrigan to Join Panel on “Taxes and Entrepreneurship” at Heritage Foundation Event, January 15 :Entrepreneurship is down in America. How can tax reform help? SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan will join a panel discussion at Heritage on January 15 to discuss tax system challenges for entrepreneurs, and the policy changes needed to support and encourage startup activity. To learn more about the event, please click here.
Expert Picks: The Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read to Succeed
SBE Council is fortunate to have some of the nation’s leading small business experts in our circle of friends. To that end, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan assembled a blue-ribbon panel of experts and successful entrepreneurs to recommend one book that they consider required reading for entrepreneurial success in 2015.
The recommended book could be one that had the greatest impact on each of the panelist’s thinking, actions in business, or simply a “go to” book for entrepreneurial success. The recommendations of the panel cover the spectrum of essential information, skills and strategies that are key to business success. In addition, each one of the blue ribbon panel members is an accomplished author and Kerrigan includes links and information about their recent book. Read more, learn more in 2015!
CENTER FOR REGULATORY SOLUTIONS: New Congress Pledges To Take on Excessive Regulation
Early this week, the U.S. House will vote on the bipartisan “Regulatory Accountability Act,” H.R. 185, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN). See SBE Council’s support letter here.
As noted by Congressman Peterson in his media release announcing the bill: “This bill will streamline and bring transparency to the regulatory process, ensuring that our farmers, ranchers and small businesses are not regulated out of business. Increasing transparency and accountability will give those who will actually feel the impact of proposed regulations, rather than Washington bureaucrats,a larger voice in the process.”
Chairman Goodlatte said: “Washington’s endless regulatory roadblocks continually drain Americans’ hard-earned wages and stand in the way of opportunity and growth. Today, Americans face a burden of over $3 trillion from federal taxation and regulation. In fact, our federal regulatory burden is larger than the 2013 Gross Domestic Product of all but the top ten countries in the world and most importantly, that burden adds up to $15,000 per American household, nearly thirty percent of average household income in 2013.”
Promising Outlook for Regulatory Reform and Relief: SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating looks at the promise among leaders in the new Congress to take on the issue of regulatory overreach, which is burdening our economy and small businesses. Keating cites a few examples of positives moves on select regulatory issues such as Obamacare, the EPA and the Internet, and concludes: “Looking ahead, we need congressional action that embraces sound economics and reins in over-regulation. But we also need President Obama to put aside politics in favor of such economics.”
Energy & Entrepreneurs: U.S. Energy Infrastructure Needs, Keystone XL
Energy and Infrastructure Needs in the U.S.: Private investment in energy projects and development has been an overwhelming positive for the U.S. economy. In this Energy & Entrepreneurs blog post, SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating reviews our nation’s infrastructure needs on the energy front and what is holding that back. He writes: “Expediting energy and other infrastructure projects, along with encouraging energy exports, will strengthen our economy and boost opportunities for entrepreneurs. There’s hope in 2015, that our government will play a more constructive role in supporting the energy sector and the small businesses that are leading America’s energy revolution.”
Keystone XL is a Vote for Economic Growth and Small Business: In his latest Energy & Entrepreneurs blog post, Keating writes about action in the new Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Keating highlights the economic benefits of the project, including for small businesses. He concludes, “Make no mistake, a vote in favor of approving the Keystone XL pipeline project is a vote in favor of increased economic, employment and small business growth.”
KEATING’S CORNER: Analysis on Economic Data and Policy
5 Issues to Watch for the 2015 Economy: Chief economist Ray Keating reviews five issues in need of watching when it comes to U.S. economic performance in 2015.
Another Mixed Story on Jobs: With regard to the latest jobs data from December, Keating writes that the results are “more mixed than what we would expect if economic growth were truly robust.” He also highlights troubling numbers on labor force trends.
Higher Interest Rates and the Fed: On what the Fed will do on interest rates in 2015, Keating writes: “Despite all of the attention the topic is receiving, a largely unspoken question lurks: Does it really matter?” Check out Keating’s answer here.
PERMANENT Internet Tax Freedom!
The moratorium on internet taxes has been extended FIVE times by the Congress. In this piece, Ray Keating outlines the importance of making the Internet Tax Freedom Act permanent. The bottom line, he concludes, is that permanency “is both fair and sound economics.”
On January 9, a bipartisan group of House members led by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. In a letter to Chairman Goodlatte and Representative Eshoo supporting the legislation, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan writes:“The Internet is an essential tool for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and drives innovation and productivity for the economy. Small business owners require Internet access to market their products, service customers, purchase supplies and efficiently run their businesses. Taxing the Internet would have deleterious effects on small business owners and slow economic growth and investment.”The time to pass permanent Internet tax freedom is NOW!
Starting the New Year Off Right for Tax Savings
As small business expert and SBE Council Advisory Board member Barbara Weltman notes in her latest Business Success Strategies: “Taxes may not be the primary issue on the minds of business owners at this time of the year, but they perhaps should be. Essentially taxes are the difference between what you earn and what you keep.” Weltman outlines some simple actions you can take now that can lead to tax savings for the entire year.
Visa Webinar, January 21: Layering Security Technologies to Strengthen Payment Card Environments
Merchants accepting payment cards are targeted by fraudsters and hackers trying to obtain their customers’ cardholder data. This webinar will highlight secure technologies designed to act independently or in concert with one another to strengthen the protection of payment card data. The webinar is January 21 (10:00 a.m. PST), and Visa Global Payment System Risk will cover three secure technologies merchants can utilize to optimize the protection of their payment card processing environment. Please click here to register.
Business Tips & Trends News Highlights
Here is SBE Council’s selection of the best “how to” articles,
news stories and educational resources from the previous week.
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